A terribly upset CEO recently shared with me that her team is not communicating effectively and that’s taking a toll on the organisational effectiveness. They were skipping deadlines, missing opportunities and losing revenue.
She also said, “it has gone to the extent that we have many great talkers but no great communicators”.
She tried motivating her managers to communicate effectively, but wasn’t successful and was wondering what’s next. We worked on few strategies that enabled her to help the team learn to communicate better and improve their overall performance and results.
Here are few ways in which you could inspire your team to effectively communicate and build better communication strategies to improve the overall organisational effectiveness.
1. Help them connect with the core purpose of your organisation.
Organisations should have deeper meaning and purpose as to what and why they are there for. As a boss, your core beliefs about the organisation, it’s mission, strategy and execution is of utmost important to inspire your team to build conviction. If all your communication strategies are thoughtfully designed around this core purpose, it will enable your team to relate and connect with what they are doing. Human beings need a good reason to strive to work and hence having a strong sense of purpose will have powerful positive effect on your team. What do you is of course important, but what matters the most is why do you do what you do?
Helping your managers understand this core of your organisation will highly enable them to effectively communicate.
2. Encourage openness and transparency
Openness is one of the critical components of effective communication. Openness is also crucial in building trust, mutual understanding and relationships in an organisation. Openness and transparency are key ingredients to build accountability and trust in any context be it personal or professional. One of the primary ways of building openness in organisations is to enable free flow of information in both vertical and horizontal axis. Which means information should freely flow from top to bottom, bottom to top and also among the peers.
Openness and transparency refers not just to the communication of goals, targets, expectations, but also disclosure of all relevant information, including negative information and the sharing of feelings and opinions regarding the organization and its activities.
People these days really hate authority. They want their manages to be more human, less perfect and a times bit vulnerable too. Encourage your managers to freely communicate, easily accessible and approachable in order to build openness and trust in the environment.
3. Teach them to communicate precisely
Organisations are filled with great talkers but not great communicators. We were always taught from our school and college days to express more. Academic environment encourages people to display the information one has either in spoken or written forms as much as possible. We were always taught to focus on ourselves and share more. Where as in an organisational context one should be greatly focusing on the core message that needs to communicated in order to precisely do it. Managers who are skilled at thinking and communicating with clarity and precision always become effective communicators.
Specificity, brevity and clarity are the 3 fundamental components of effective communication. Teach your managers to be clear, concise and confident in all their communications.
4. Ask them to tell a story
People easily forget facts and figures, while experiences are remembered for long. Best way to bring about experiences is through Story Telling. Organisation should have accumulated number of stories throughout their existence and it’s important to record the best ones for future reference. Stories create experiences by triggering emotions, feelings and thoughts in cohesion. Ask managers, employees, customers, suppliers and every other stakeholders to share their stories and it will be an excellent channel of effective communication.
Story telling is often the best way to inform, inspire and get things done. Story telling converts dry information, data and statistics into interesting and relevant images of aspiration and organisational goals.
5. Be exemplary and an inspiring role model
Effective communication is not about authority or personality, it’s all about practical, observable and tangible set of communicating techniques and strategies that enable you to effectively communicate with your team. As a leader, it’s always better to demonstrate than to advice. Create standards of excellent in communication and set a precedence for others to follow. Find innovative ways to encourage your team to communicate using new methods and techniques. Encourage them to take new initiatives, make mistake and learn from the attempts to become a better communicator.
Best selling author and thought leader Brian Tracy says;
“Perhaps the most important thing you do as a good leader is to be an excellent role model. Lead by example. Walk the talk. Always carry yourself as though everyone is watching, even when no one is watching. A good leader is an excellent role model because they are completely reliable. People can take them at their word and trust that they will do what they say. A trusted role model makes promises carefully, and always keeps their word.”
6. Provide opportunities for Self-Development
Your managers and employees will be more valuable only if they get opportunity to continuously learn and build new skills. Organisations that offer it’s employees numerous opportunities to advance their professional development, with a wide range of seminars, training programs and further education programmes are continuously thriving and growing.
Personal development is all about investing in your team so that they can communicate and manage effectively regardless of what challenges might come in the way. Personal development allows an organisation to be dynamic and proactive.
Consciously create systematic opportunities for your team to continuously develop themselves, inspire them to invest on themselves and build a continuous learning culture in the organisation.
Effective communication is an art that takes effort and commitment to learn, practice and most importantly needs to come from the heart.